Three games were on the Big East Conference men's basketball schedule Wednesday night and, like clockwork, there were some surprising results in the nation's best league. What better way to recap those results than with SB Nation's Big East blogs. Here's your Thursday morning, Blogging Around The Big East.
Junior guard Kemba Walker scored a game-best 31 points Wednesday night to help the Connecticut basketball program (No. 13 in the AP poll and No. 12 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll) past the No. 9 Georgetown Hoyas, 78-70, in a Big East Conference game at the XL Center in Hartford, CT. The home victory for UConn (20-5, 8-5) ended an amazing eight-game winning streak by the Hoyas (20-6, 9-5 Big East), who beat the No. 15/14 Villanova Wildcats, No. 16 Louisville Cardinals and No. 17/20 Syracuse Orange during that span. Here was The UConn Blog's postgame reaction:
"Welcome back, all, to the Kemba Walker Show," wrote Kevin Meacham Wednesday night.
"Here is the objectivity: 31 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds, 1 eye-popping self-pass off the backboard for a layup. 13-23 from the field, 12-18 from inside the 3-point line. Two backbreaking buckets to turn a 70-69 deficit into a 73-70 lead with just over a minute to play."
"Here's the subjectivity: KEMBA KEMBA YEAH YEAH OH YEAH"
What was normal about Wednesday night's contest was that Walker, the league's second-best scorer with 22.2 points per game, collected his sixth 30-plus point performance of the season. What was normal for the Big East, but not normal for the history of man, is the parity of the 16-team league that goes 11 or 12 teams deep. Here's the Casual Hoyas response to the power of the conference.
"At some point during the day," wrote itsallthatmatters on Wednesday night. "Everyone who reads this blog fell into delusional land and had a dream of Georgetown streaking the rest of the season and then cruising through the Big East Tournament en route to a 1 seed. While the first part of that dream has now died, this is not a terrible loss."
"There are lessons to learn from this game but the sun will come up tomorrow (hell, it might be 70 degrees in DC) and Georgetown now sets its sights on the upcoming roadtrip to the University of South Florida."
In Cincinnati, the Bearcats (19-7, 8-5) earned a 63-54 victory over the Cardinals (20-6, 7-6) at the Fifth Third Arena. The victory was a "must win" for Cincinnati, which had dropped three of its last four games and are sitting on the NCAA bubble. Down The Drive's postgame post expressed some happiness and surprise.
"That was an absolutely monumental win for Cincinnati," Matt Opper posted Wednesday night. "I try not to bend in the general direction of overwhelmingly positive or negative hyperbole. I like to think I am pretty good when it comes to keeping a level head about the team or the program. But it is very hard to keep a level head about this win."
"I have to be honest I was deeply, deeply concerned about this game. I had no expectation of a win and at tip off I was thinking 60/40 Louisville."
"But all the worry and the concern was for naught, UC defended the three point line for 40 full minutes. Louisville was 4 of 17 from three on the game, and they can't really win games shooting that kind of percentage."
Surprisingly, in Pittsburgh, the No. 4 Panthers (24-2, 12-1) beat visiting the South Florida Bulls, 67-55. The class of the Big East is breezing through league play and it shows with Cardiac Hill's postgame comments, which focus on a freshman forward who averages just 15 minutes!
"Talib Zanna had his first good game in nearly a month racking up 11 points in only 15 minutes against South Florida on Wednesday," wrote CardiacHill on Thursday morning. "'What's the deal with Zanna, anyway?'" is a question I've heard a lot in various forms this year."
"Well, part of it hasn't exactly been Zanna's fault as his minutes have been cut significantly. But there is a common theme if you look at when he's had his most successful games this season."
I think USF (8-19, 2-12) and the Voodoo Five is just happy to be mentioned.